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CruzCrazy

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  1. I currently have just over 204,000 points. I do need some Carnival gift cards to pay off a wintertime cruise, but no way will I use all of my banked points for gift cards, either Carnival or restaurants. Guess I'll use them for sweepstakes or donate. I hope discounted Carnival gift cards are part of the new program, but only time will tell. When Verizon "improved" their rewards program, the cards-for-points program was eliminated. All I ever get from that rewards program now is an occasional $5 credit to Amazon.
  2. A few years ago (inference: might be different now), I had a 6K on the Glory (huge corner front-facing cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows), and they were sold out (there are only 2 on the ship). When balconies dropped to $250 lower than what I paid, I called and "moved" to a balcony cabin. That way, my original cabin showed up in inventory with a new lower price. I then immediately changed cabins again back to my original cabin and got a significant price drop. This was not an early saver rate (I think it was a past guest rate), so there was no problem in "downgrading." There was a chance that in the couple of minutes that my original cabin was vacant that somebody else could have snatched it up, but, because it was a few hundred dollars, I took that chance, and it worked out for me. I got the price drop and kept my preferred cabin. I think if you have a good PVP or get a good agent on the phone, it makes a difference.
  3. We were on Horizon in December, and we enjoyed it very much. The main show theater does have some issues with its design, but we are usually early for everything, so we always got a good seat. People complain about the elevators, but it's more an issue of people not understanding how they work, only one person selecting the floor on the screen when there are multiple passengers in their group, getting frustrated and just jumping on any elevator that stops, etc. I love the way they redesigned (finally) the lido buffet area with multiple "stations." It's much more convenient. The atrium is much less opulent, but it was fine. They've added other venues like the Havana Bar and the Pig and Anchor. I loved the digital format for the photos. Getting prime lounge chairs on lido was never a problem for us, but we are early risers. The only negative on our 8-day cruise was the steakhouse. We had subpar service, and one of the waiters spilled scalding-hot soup on my husband's foot. We had a group of 12, and at the end they messed the checks up and took forever to get it corrected. We would cruise the Horizon again.
  4. I'd be glad to try to help. First of all, you need to know what fare code you booked under initially (Early Saver, Past Guest, a particular "sale," a "sale" that included a reduced deposit, and on and on). Your cruise is till a good way off, so with most fare codes you should be able to price match up until final payment is DUE (irrespective of whether you may have paid it off early). With Early Saver, you can price match up until 2 days before the ship sails. Once you know what fare code you booked under and whether or not you paid a reduced deposit, you can go from there. If you think when calling that they're not seeing the same rates you are looking at, do the mock booking again and do a screenshot to prove that the rate is lower. Remember, it has to be the EXACT SAME CATEGORY as the stateroom you booked. That information is not readily available when booking. Check a deck plan for your ship and find out the CATEGORY of your stateroom (for example, not just balcony, but which category of balcony, and remember that the same deck can have more than one category of a certain cabin type). If the rate is indeed lower for the same exact date, same exact category, and same number of people, you should be able to get the lower price but just know that if you have paid a reduced deposit and that deposit is now more, you would owe the remainder of the deposit. Like if you paid $50 pp and to book today the deposit would be $250 pp, you have to ante up the remainder of the deposit in order to qualify for the price match. You can always fill out the Early Saver price match form instead of calling if you booked under that rate, which is what I always do. It sounds complicated, but it's not really once you get the hang of it. Good luck!
  5. I for one will miss Antigua as a port. We were there on the Breeze in 2016 and loved it. We did venture away from the pier and took a 30-minute cab ride to Sheer Rocks (restaurant/bar/grill) which is perpetually in the top-rated restaurants in the Caribbean. The views from this place are unbelievable, as it sits atop a rocky ledge at Cocobay Resort (hence the name Sheer Rocks). Still, if it doesn't make good business sense for Carnival to continue making it a port of call, then that's that. If we ever get the opportunity to do a land vacation there, I'd jump at the chance.
  6. I've been doing more research on the forward-facing balcony cabins, and I found this YouTube video of a Princess forward-facing balcony. Of course, this one is "obstructed" because the railing is not glass, but I think you get a pretty good idea of what a forward-facing balcony might be like. I'm starting to feel better about my choice of a spa forward-facing balcony on Mardi Gras. If you want to skip the rest, you can fast-forward to about 3:16 in the video where he shows and talks about the balcony.
  7. I feel basically the same. Ours is a spa cabin (another first for us). I booked under the ES rate, so I can't go down to an 8J or 8K hump balcony (mine is an 8V). Probably the only thing I'd upgrade to would be a spa suite, but I don't think that's going to happen. I was also thinking about an ocean suite and a spa pass, but the offer would have to be pretty good to give up a "new" style of cabin, since, like you, I like trying out new and different. I did feel a little better after finding that photo and getting a response from someone who actually had real-world experience with a cabin like this.
  8. After some research, I found this image of a deck 17 forward-facing balcony on AIDAnova (same overall design). It was on a social media page that I follow, and I asked the poster about how windy it was. They responded that it was a "little windy" when sailing but "only in the front area." It looks like the photo was taken with a "fish-eye" lens, so it probably skews the dimensions a little, but, even so, it looks sizable. As I had conjectured before, I was thinking (and hoping) that the partitions would cut down on the wind factor. Of course, we can't be 100% certain that the Mardi Gras will look exactly like this, but it gives a good jumping-off point.
  9. 20181207_152948.mp4 This was on deck 7 "secret deck" on Horizon.
  10. Yes, if they are up close to the window. We usually just pull the curtains when we're dressing and at night. Actually, there's a sign that says you must keep the curtain closed at night so that cabin lights don't interfere with navigation. Not all 4J cabins are created equal. We just had 7207 on Horizon, and it had a pole beside the bed, which DH hit with his head on one night when getting up to go to the restroom. We've had other 4J's that didn't have any kind of support pole like that. The configuration of that cabin was different, too. It was laid out in kind of an L shape. I always think there's a little more motion all the way up front, but it's not terrible. I think these cabins are a good value. It's a pretty long walk to get to anything, but we don't mind walking. It's nice to be able to take a few steps and be out front on the secret decks, but it does get very windy out there when the ship is underway, depending on wind direction and speed. It's fantastic for watching the view during entering and exiting port.
  11. Sold out is sold out, but keep an eye out in case there is a cancellation or somebody with a cabin in your category upgrades, opening up a cabin in your category (or possibly a travel agent has some blocked and might release them). BTW, you mentioned your deck is sold out for your category, but it's the category that matters. Depending on the ship, sometimes cabins on a different deck are the same category as yours. For example, I have a category 8B (balcony) on the Magic on deck 7, but there are category 8B cabins on deck 6 also.
  12. If you're flexible, it will probably be okay. That being said, you can imagine if you go at peak dining times, it's not going to be easy to get two tables, one for 9 and one for 6, close together. You may end up waiting for a while. We usually go with YTD also, but on our most recent cruise we switched to early because our party had grown to 12. It was just so much simpler with assigned dining with a large party, and, with 12 at least, we were all able to be seated at the same table.
  13. I would usually just casually follow the news of a new build, since we usually don't sail on a ship in the first few months after debut. I did follow the news about Horizon a little closer since we were sailing on her in the inaugural season (albeit December 2018), but, with the Vista already out, there wasn't much that was going to be revolutionary. However, I've already booked on Mardi Gras and am also anxiously awaiting more news. I tend to agree with the OP that the Mardi Gras is a different animal, in that they are mostly departing from the same general layout used (with a few tweaks here and there, especially starting with Dream class and then Vista class) to something entirely new and fresh with the Mardi Gras and the "XL" class (or is it referred to as the Mardi Gras class now?). I know we're not going to see any real meaty news until much later in the process, but I for one would think they would try to capitalize on the initial excitement by throwing a few tidbits at us here and there over the next couple of months.
  14. Thankfully, starting with Carnival Horizon, the buffet has been redesigned, so the lines move much better. Instead of one long cafeteria-style line, there are various stations.
  15. We were there in December. I wouldn't say the island is in ruins, but there was damage where we went (Bikini Beach/Orient Beach). Since we hadn't been there is a few years and had been to Maho to watch the planes land the last time we were there, we wanted to mix it up and go back to Orient Bay. We got to the beach around 10 a.m., and all chairs on the beach were taken. There seemed to be only one establishment open, and the other bars/grills were just gone or in shambles. The one that was open (can't recall the name) was running at full force, with plenty of food and drinks, and the chairs and umbrellas were in good shape (maybe new). However, if you decide to go to Orient, you should definitely get off the ship early if you want a chair. The beach itself was still beautiful as always, and there were some jet skis for rent. I noticed some homes still without roofs on our way to the beach. The Dutch side and Phillipsburg seemed like they had rebuilt at a faster clip.
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